“Mushroom” – Image to Audio Performance

April 5, 2008

    Prepare for in-class sketch performance next week. This week you will be assigned on of the following three images to serve as your score: John Cage’s signature, a William Anastasi drawing (made on a subway trip to play chess with Cage), or this mushroom print.
    The manner in which the image becomes the score is up to you, and can be automated or interpretive. Performances will be given as trios (1 player for each image). Prior to class post one sketch of a sample of your work.

For my “image analysis” performance, I was assigned the mushroom print. For my analysis, I typed out the paragraph of text from the website which describes the process of creating the print, and used the ascii values and keycodes of the text as variables in my Max patch. The ascii code was the ‘x’ value, and the keycode was the ‘y’, and those co-ordinates were used to return RGB values (to make sure I didn’t receive a limited range of values, I kept an iterated character count as I typed, and added this to the variables). These RGB values were in turn fed into “cycle~” objects, each value as a different frequency (so, basically, I did some really simple additive synthesis). Lastly, trying to add a little more variety (though I kinda regret this now, I think it ruined the, ahem, ‘conceptual purity’ of the exercise), I did FM synthesis, creating a frequency ratio using the same x and y values, and iterating the amplitude of the modulator. This made my sounds more squelchy. The effect was meant to slowly grow over time (mimicking the mushroom layers), but in practice it was noticeable a little too soon.




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